I think one of the biggest struggles in our home is to harness the constant flood of paperwork that comes into our house. Between mail and schoolwork, it feels like a constant battle. Especially for a neat freak like me! I hate clutter. And I especially don't like piles of paper on my counters and the dinner table. I love to cook and love to sit down to a nice, family dinner. The last thing I want to do is dig my way through flyers to be able to do those things!
I finally found a system that works for my family. I purchased a wicker, pocket organizer with four pockets. Now, whenever a piece of paper comes into the house, it goes into the organizer as follows:
- Top pocket: The inbox! This holds all the mail and incoming paperwork my husband needs to see.
Pocket Two: My husband's place to store paperwork. He typically checks the inbox each night, and then files whatever he needs to adress later in this pocket. Having an inbox and "file" pocket works because then he won't have to sift through his box every day to try to find anything new I might have put in there. Besides mail, I also put notes, "honey-do" lists, and phone messages into the inbox for him. My daughter slides in tests and schoolwork she wants him to see.
Pocket Three: Mine. I go through paperwork and mail as soon as I get it. If something needs to be addressed within the week, I keep in my pocket. I also keep invitations and other paperwork I will need to look at in the near future. Once a week, I sift through my pocket and take action on whatever needs to be addressed.
Pocket Four: My daughter's. She keeps school assignments and invitations in her pocket. She & I go through her pocket on a weekly basis and clean it up.
That's it. No more paperwork pile ups. If some leaves a paper out, I know exactly where to put it and everyone knows where it is. I'm not going to lie, the pockets can get full and messy, but I'm just happy there aren't papers everywhere and I only have to look in one place when I am looking for important paperwork.
I'd love to hear how you deal with paperwork in your home! Leave a message in the comments.
By the way, I used Smoothfoam letters to identify my pockets. You can get the tutorial to make some for your organizational needs here.